Overview: Maternity Care Practices
Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC)
Most eligible hospitals have been sent an email with a link to complete the survey. Hospitals must complete their survey to receive a Hospital Report and be included in state and national level data. If a hospital has not yet received a link to complete the survey or has other questions, please email mPINC@cdc.gov.
In the United States, nearly all infants are born in a hospital. Their stay is typically very short, but events during this time have lasting effects. Experiences with breastfeeding in the first hours and days of life significantly influence an infant’s later feeding. Several key supportive hospital practices can improve breastfeeding outcomes. Birth facility policies and practices that create a supportive environment for breastfeeding begin prenatally and continue through discharge, and include:
- Hospital policies—Written hospital policies support breastfeeding and are communicated to staff and patients.
- Staff training—Hospital requires breastfeeding education, clinical training, and competency verification for all maternity staff who work with breastfeeding families.
- Immediate skin-to-skin contact—Newborns are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers immediately after birth, with no bedding or clothing between them, allowing enough uninterrupted time (at least 1 hour) for mother and baby to start breastfeeding well.
- Early and frequent breastfeeding—Hospital staff help mothers and babies start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, with many opportunities to practice throughout the hospital stay.
- Teaching about breastfeeding—Hospital staff teach mothers and babies how to breastfeed and to recognize and respond to feeding cues.
- Exclusive breastfeeding—Hospital staff follow current evidence-based protocols for breastfeeding infants, and provide supplementary feedings only when medically necessary.
- Rooming-in—Hospital staff encourage mothers and babies to room together and teach families the benefits of this kind of close contact, including more opportunities to practice breastfeeding and learn their infant’s feeding cues.
- Follow-up after discharge—Hospital staff schedule follow-up visits for mothers and bab199ies after they go home and connect families to community breastfeeding resources.